In my “in” and “out” prediction of fashions for the new year, I predicted that megachurches would be “out” and microchurches would be “in.” That was based primarily on wishful thinking. But now I see that I was right! This is what the church growth experts are saying! Terry Mattingly quotes and discusses a news story on the subject:
Microchurches have been around since New Testament days but have become more popular in the past decade. Though the groups differ widely in their practices, the majority serve less than 100 members, typically don’t own the building where they meet, often practice nondenominational evangelism and intentionally offer believers a worship atmosphere unlike that of established churches. Many of the groups wish to remain small and will plant a new congregation if numbers grow too large.
“People are yearning for a more intimate type of fellowship that they, in many cases, did not find in the very large church,” said Carol Childress, founder of FrameWorks, a church consulting firm based in Texas. “In the course of one generation, as a culture here in the United States, we made a 180-degree turn — from valuing strong individuals to searching for a sense of community.”
That second sentence describes my congregation (except for the nondenominational part)! Our worship atmosphere is indeed unlike established churches, in that we are highly liturgical, while “established churches” now largely use contemporary worship. I assure you that it was not our intention to be fashionable; indeed, we have been trying to NOT be fashionable. But there you go.
But just consider the advantages of small churches. You get to actually know your pastor, and he knows you. He can give you the pastoral care that you need. You can get to know and interact with all your fellow members, making a true sense of community possible. Such things are virtually impossible in a megachurch.